LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin

LZ-130 — named “Graf Zeppelin” — was the last large rigid airship ever built.

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin, Original color photo (click to enlarge)

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin (original color photo)

Built from essentially the same blueprints as her sister ship, LZ-129 Hindenburg, LZ-130 was nearing completion at the time of the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937. Originally intended to join Hindenburg in transatlantic service in October, 1937, LZ-130 was modified to use helium after the Hindenburg crash, delaying her first flight.

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin (click to enlarge)

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin

Because helium provides less lift than hydrogen, LZ-130’s passenger capacity was reduced from the 72 carried by Hindenburg to just 40, and because helium was expensive and difficult to obtain, modifications were required to avoid the need to release helium during normal operations; the engine cars greatly enlarged to accommodate equipment to recover water from exhaust gases, with tractor propellers (facing forward) rather than the pusher propellers on Hindenburg.

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin passenger decks (click to enlarge)

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin passenger decks

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin deck plans (click to enlarge)

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin deck plans

After the fiery crash of Hindenburg it seemed likely that the United States, which had a practical monopoly on helium, would lift its 1927 export restriction and allow German passenger airships to use the nonflammable gas, but with the increasing aggression of the National Socialist government in 1938 – including the annexation of Austria and the occupation of Sudeten Czechoslovakia – the American government would not allow the exportation of helium to Germany. LZ-130 spent her short career inflated with hydrogen and never carried a paying passenger.

Graf Zeppelin made her first flight on September 14, 1938, under the command of Hugo Eckener, and made a total of 30 flights during her two year career. In addition to propaganda flights over Germany, German-annexed Austria, and German-occupied Sudetenland, LZ-130 conducted multiple military reconnaisance flights including a two-day flight in August, 1939, dedicated to electronic surveillance of Britain’s Chain Home radar network.

LZ-130 Dining Room

LZ-130 Dining Room

LZ-130 Passenger Cabin

LZ-130 Passenger Cabin

LZ-130 Lounge, with stairs to Dining Room

Lounge; steps to Dining Room

LZ-130’s last flight took place on August 20, 1939; twelve days later Germany invaded Poland, beginning World War II, and the ship never flew again. In March, 1940, Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring ordered the dismantling of LZ-127, LZ-130, and LZ-131, which was then under construction, and by late April the ships had been cut into scrap. On May 6, 1940 — the third anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster — Wehrmacht demolition specialists destroyed the Zeppelin Company hangars in Frankfurt.

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin in flight

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin in flight

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil Hemstad February 22, 2016 at 9:56 am

There is an angle that has not been pointed out on how one decision could almost backfire disasterously.If General Martini had been successful with his experiments in detecting the British Radar Chain using the Graf Zeppelin 2 and the germans were able to take advantage of the information and exploit it then Secretary Ickes decision to block the helium sale could in the end have had caused very serious issues for the Allies in WW2.The Graf Zeppelin 2 was only made available to General Martini because it was not allowed under hydrogen filling to carry passengers.If the ship had been inflated with the promised helium then the ship would have only been used as a passenger liner as it was designed and not available for the radio detection missions. Under the safeguards of the Helium Act any usage for military uses would have had the effect of the supply being cut off.Without the helium the germans were left with nothing more than a very large white elephant without real purpose except an unique advantage in being a platform for radio and radar detection experiments.In a sense an airborne USS Liberty or Pueblo.In any case the missions did fail to detect the Radar Chain and history played out as it was meant but it was a close call.


Thomas Kern February 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

Provided that LZ 129 would not have been destroyed in May 1937 the plan was that LZ 130 should make it´s maiden voyage to Rio in late October 1937. That would mean that LZ 127 would also still be in Operation, so that LZ 130 could not get the Name “Graf Zeppelin”. Does anybody has an idea if there was any other name planned for LZ 130 initially ?


Jake Rutigliano August 30, 2015 at 6:16 pm
JM August 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm

I would like to add a help to many in the comments box-one person mentions Harold Dick who wrote a book on his five year time living in Germany before the war started. Two Goodyear engineers lived in Germany, one returned to Goodyear after one year and Harold stayed in Germany for five years before Goering got involved with the German Military using some blimps for rallies and installing radar in some of the blimps. Germany worked with Goodyear sharing ideas and technology and the Germans sent over a few foreman and workers around 1927 to who the people at Goodyear how they were making the Duralumin and setting up the blimps. Harold was told to go back to the U.S. just before the war started. After the was in 1945, people in the town in Germany sent a letter to Harold to please come to Germany to help build a museum at Friedrichshafen and when he got there everything was wrecked. All the drawings were gone and they searched Europe and found the drawings in a flea market in France. They purchased the drawings and brought them back to Germany to begin the task of the museum. Harold was one of the few people left after the war that had engineering experience with the blimps and how everything was before the wars destruction. The museum was a memorial to all the people in Germany and America that worked together to bring so many things together. Today we all take too many things for granted and really don’t realize the generation before us made our lives so much better with all the technology that was developed largely as part of the war. The same town in Germany produced tank engines and liquid oxygen and was on the bombing list with England and U.S. bombers. 67% of the town was damaged by all the bombing. Today Germany is making some of the most advanced designs in Military, automobile and other systems that are still amazing in their scope. We have to give tribute to all the people that came before us and appreciate their sacrifice to advance the world. The horrors of war and the deaths of millions is always a tragedy but the brilliant minds and talent of individuals who made all the advances happen deserve notice and credit for their contribution. Werner Von Braun and his team from Penemunde put the U.S. on the moon with his Saturn V rocket design. There were 5 engines on that rocket that burned 125,000 gallons of fuel per minute. There is a challenge for engineering students. How much fuel did this rocket burn before the second stage hit? Werner live with a team of 10 top German scientists at Huntsville Rocket Facility in Alabama after the war and worked with U.S. Scientists at Cape Canaveral to make it happen.


nevans January 12, 2015 at 9:05 am

I emailed the original Zeppelin company in Germany about building the LZ130 and he responded with this:

Dear nevans,

unfortunately the rebuild cost of the LZ 130 will be more than significant.

The original design and all the construction plans of the LZ 130 are obsolet, because today we are faced with new materials, new technologies, very complicated certification procedures and a totally different and international aviation law. To make a long story short, finally ou have to make a fundamental redesign of the airship and the total costs will amount to approx. 5 to 6 Billions EURO, including manufacturing of a prototype, flight test program and the certification of airworthiness.
I guess that with a well equipped professional aviation design office the entire process will take roughly 6 to 8 years.

Basically it is very difficult to make a cost estimate without a detailed specification but I hope that my estimate will help you a little bit for your business class.

best regards

Dietmar Blasius
Leiter Vertrieb Sonderprojekte | Head of Special Projects


Frederick Lee November 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Take a look at thday’s CNN site “NY from the Air” The first photograph is from an airplane looking down a a zeppelin with NYC below in the year “1910”
Somebody call the editor. Zeppelin’s did not look like that in 1910 and they did not fly to New York until the 1020’s. My guess is the airship is the Graf Zeppelin and the year is 1928. NYC did not look anything like that in 1910.


Revdahl March 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I bought a letter to day. It was send whit Graf Zeppelin from Lakehurst to Friedrichshafen 1-9 1929 to Friedrichshafen 4-9 1929. It`s no special stamp only write that it have gone with Graf Zeppelin.


Henrik Mikkelsen March 2, 2014 at 6:54 am

Does anyone know about the size (length) of LZ131 – was it to like the Hindenburg or longer?


Hendrick Stoops August 31, 2014 at 7:18 pm

The LZ-131 class would’ve been similar to the Hindenburg class, with the addition of a gas cell aft of the passenger quarters.


Glenn Johnson April 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

In 1979 I asked this very question of Mr. Harold Dick, Goodyear’s liaison at Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen in the 1930s, and his reply was that the LZ-131 was to have been built on a LZ-129/LZ-130 design platform but with a 17-meter section added (probably calling for one additional main frame). Taking 17m to be the equivalent of 55.77 ft, the LOA of LZ-131 would have been approximately 803 + 56 = 859 ft. I presume that the new length was compatible with the then-existing sheds in Friedrichshafen and/or Frankfurt, but while the prospective ship would have been capable of being “hangared” in Akron and Sunnyvale, it would not have fit in the Lakehurst shed (without lengthening the latter structure, i.e.). Hope this helps.


Andreas Horn July 28, 2015 at 2:47 am

In fact, the largest bays on the LZ 129 and LZ 130 had a length of only 16.5 meters (54.13 ft) with a spacing of the two intermediate rings of 5.5 meters (18.04 ft). Therfore, the LZ 131 would have had a total length of 261.5 meters or 857.94 ft.
Some of the captains, among them Sammt, Schiller and Flemming who gained experience with the largest wartime Zeppelin airships, thought that the LZ 131 would be too big to be handled safely on the ground…


Msgr. Clifton Ransom, Jr. February 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I too have had a lifelong interest in zeppelins and enjoyed the site very much.I was a child during WWII in Houston Texas, and Navy blimps from the the base at near by Hitchcock Texas flew over our house all the time. There was a zeppelin hanger at Hitchcock, but I am not sure if a zeppelin ever visited it or not. I heard that the Shennendoah stopped there when it circumnavigated the US, but I am not sure.


Gordon Cripps September 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I clearly remember seeing the Graf Zeppelin flying along the coastline of the Bristol Channel at Minehead,I believe it was on a spying mission.


Patrick May 29, 2013 at 12:22 am

Concerning the possible configuration of LZ128 (in response to Stuart Flood below)

‘The Air Liners of the Future’ by John Draper, published in Popular Mechanics February 1930 issue, discusses advances over the ‘Graf Zeppelin’ made in both new and contemplated airships, including an undesignated LZ128.

Among the improvements ascribed in the text to ‘the new German dirigible’ are a ‘fatter’ fineness ratio compared to the Graf, gas capacity 30% larger (also given directly as five-million cubic feet), eight engines with more power to allow better maintenance of flight schedules, and a reefing frame (boom?) system to resolve outer cover issues encountered with the Graf. Completion was scheduled for spring, 1931. Most of these characteristics agree with other accounts concerning the LZ128 design.

The illustrations used in the article, however, are impossible to take seriously. These depict ‘The new German liner now under construction’ as having many absurd and over-decadent features, among them:
1. Large, bulky main ring girders much more in the nature of the big British and American airships and unlikely for the Zeppelin Company’s ‘conservative’ approach to airship design.
2. Long, horizontal enclosed passages stretching between fully enclosed exterior passages to the engine nacelles (a ridiculous expenditure in weight for such marginal utility).
3. Frivolously arranged passenger quarters with:
– de-luxe rooms (private promenades included)
– full bathrooms (the Hindenburg only ever managed a single, drizzly shower)
– staterooms divided into three classes
– a 129 seat dining room (this for a normally given capacity of 30-34 passengers!)
– elevator (!!!) leading to…
– upper deck with ballroom, speakeasy (prohibition!!!), and ‘rest’ room (featuring what appears to be a large communal bed – harem of the skies?)

Granted, there is much resemblance in these illustrations to the older, British ‘Vickers Trans-Atlantic’ proposal, but such an influence ought to have had its strongest effects on more contemporary craft (like the ‘Graf Zeppelin’).

Link to article via google books:

The illustrators misinformation or madness aside, the descriptions in the text do agree with other accounts of the LZ128 design’s characteristics. Some of these are given as follows:

Fineness Ratio: Length @ 761′ (232m) / Diameter @ 128′ (39m) = 5.9 approx.
Gas Capacity: 5,307,000′ cubic (150,000m cubic) of hydrogen gas
Engines: 8 X Maybach VL-2 @ 555 H.P. each = 4,440 H.P. total (these were to be carried in four nacelles, i.e. two engines with an aggregate of 1,110 H.P. driving each propeller)
Passenger Capacity: 30 – 34 in cabins

It will be seen that some close similarities actually exist between the LZ128 and LZ129 designs when comparing fineness ratio and horsepower. Since these similarities are strongly linked with intended performance, They lead me to believe that there are actually fewer differences between the two designs in spite of the different gases intended for each.

A case might even be made that the 128 was actually an initial version of what would become the 129 design, with most of the differences caused by the switch in lifting gas.
The transition between the two might be described as follows:

1. Rescale hull to increase gas capacity for use of helium.
This could have been achieved by employing all-new frame designs up to 135′ (41m) diameter, and lengthening bays VIII – XI from their original 15m to 17.5m lengths, with a further 3m added at the extreme bow and stern bays.

2. Replace gasoline fueled VL-2 engines with diesels for lower fuel consumption in order to reduce valving of helium gas.
Here I can’t tell whether the exact mounting of the engine nacelles would have been identical or not since I do not have data concerning comparative weights between the Maybach VL-2 and Diamler-Benz engines. This is of importance because the weight of the diesels in LZ129 was heavy enough to justify a new arrangement using whole ‘stub’ keels for mounting them. Whether the use of two VL-2s per nacelle would have warranted the same solution mainly depends on potential differences in weight between the two arrangements.

3. Recess passenger quarters into hull envelope to cut down on drag.
This one is partly conjecture on my part since the lower passenger capacity given for the LZ128 may suggest the use of a large gondola in the same manner as the ‘Graf Zeppelin’. This configuration may have been preferred over the enclosed passenger quarters of the British giants because of hydrogen-related concerns. Obviously, with the switch to helium in LZ129, this ceased to be an issue, and the quarters were revised into a two-deck complex in bay XII.

4. Employ further measures to save and recover weights for helium conservation.

If this hypothesis is correct, all that is needed to give an approximate visual configuration for the LZ128 is to reverse the processes just described. This would mean that the LZ128 might be imagined as a reduced-size ‘Hindenburg’ with larger engine nacelles and a passenger gondola longer (larger?) than that of the ‘Graf Zeppelin’.


Hendrick Stoops March 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

The illustrations bear some resemblance to the earlier proposal for the ‘Vickers Transoceanic Airship’. Ironically, that design featured an elevator, too.


Derek Miles March 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Re LZ130 spy flights over southern UK:
Thanks for you prompt response to my submission 10 March, to which I sent a direct reply so hope it isn’t in your spam box. Just thought the following bits of info may be useful for your flight map project:
See BBC WW2 People’s War – ID3193201: Airship over Yeovil, east to west 1939 by Tony Robinson which links with the Weymouth sighting and suggests a turn-round in that area.
ID4606535: Caulkhead’s war – Airship stationary over Isle Of Wight.


Derek Miles March 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Just before ww2 I lived in Brighton and I have a very clear memory of seeing, with my grandfather, a large airship flying west over the outskirts of the town. While there seems to be little or no official record of LZ130 spy flights along the south coast, my sighting seems to tie quite nicely with other similar sightings, at about this time, which I have found on various websites. These include Lydd, Dungeness, just inland from Eastbourne, my sighting, interesting reports of a large airship with a Swastica on the tail which hung around over The Isle Of Wight and the Weymouth report on this site. All such sightings seem to have been confirmed by more than one person.


Stuart Flood February 27, 2013 at 4:46 am

I would be interested in seeing plans for the LZ 128 and the LZ131 if those plans happen to exist. Also plans for the ship that Eckner helped plan with Goodyear after the WWII would be interesting.


michael king October 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Well i would think that they would be in the archives. Otherwise you wouold have to come up with you’r own


Neil Hemstad December 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

Just a question on the naming of future zeppelins. Was the LZ 130 always planned to be called the Graf Zeppelin 2? I know that the plan was to have the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin flying as a training ship until 1939. I wondering if there was a different name planned for it. As well do you know of any names being considered for LZ 131 and LZ132? I was half jokingly thinking that Ludendorff would be a good name as a brother ship to the Hindenburg.


rick faust December 12, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Who out there on the web has any more info on the Zeppelins being torn apart for the war machine? Someone must have film of the ships in Frankfurt, Germany, and there was a fire??? then how did the engine car turn up in the Zeppelin museum?? wonder what else is under ground at the airport?


Alec Williams December 12, 2012 at 12:18 am

On the 20th November, 2012, I, Alec Williams, commented on William Milne’s submission to your website, and I’m wondering if there is anyway of me being in contact with him via his email address.
I live in Australia and would like to be able to have contact with someone with like interest.


Jason Wallace January 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Alec I live in Australia and i am also looking for airship enthusaist’s to talk to i have been Studying Zeppelin Airships now for 10 years! it would be really nice to talk with more that are like minded in this Specified area of Past,Present and more importantly the future!! i look forward to talking with you Alec ti’ll then have fun and safe travels :D

Regards Jason Wallace


Alec Williams January 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Thanks Jason for the contact.
Airships is a study that I have to admit has never been high on my list of interests , however reading the correspondence between yourself and others there is much interest obviously in both the history and future of airships .I have had many years of experience in aircraft engineering both civil & military, both in the R.A.F. and in civilian life (that is the operational side of the industry). It would be interesting to see your opinion Jason as to what would be a likely future development of the airship which would make it a competitor to what we accept as normal freight or passenger carrying aircraft.
All the best to you Jason from Alec


Jason Wallace May 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

Dear Alec though this post was some month’s ago i do hope we can talk on such matter’s of Aviation it would be interesting to hear your opinion also! :) i have Face Book of which i find for most circumstances easy to communicate with heap’s of different people around the world. Looking forward to hearing from you and i wish you all the best! and i will Happily give you my opinion on such matter’s in Due Course! :)

Regards Jason Wallace


Dr Mike Hawkins August 27, 2012 at 12:54 am

In the summer of what I presume was 1939, while visiting an aunt in Hastings, I was taken out to “see the airship”. What I now presume was the LZ 130, was a silver ellipse out to sea, reflecting the sun and moving slowly to the East.

R.V.Jones in “Most Secret War” has described the SIGINT flight by the airship aiming to detect British Radiolocation (later known as Radar) signals. They failed as they were looking in the wrong frequency band. At the end of the flight, in cloud, the airship gave its positiion as well out to sea whilst the RAF had them on radar over Newcastle ( I think it was). The operator was tempted to call then up and tell them where they really were. However, that would have given the game away and in the Battle of Britain one year later the Luftwaffe badly underestimated the effectiveness of British radar, which is possibly one reason why Operation Seelowe, the cross-channel invasion never took place and I am writing this in English and not in German.


M L Hopp June 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

It’s most interesting to note that they seem to have eliminated the two-deck passenger areas in favor a (seemingly) larger A-Deck. The entire floor plan of LZ 130 seems a bit better thought out than LZ 129, and perhaps a bit more practical in terms of a commercial ship.

Fascinating to see the somewhat technical images. I’d not known how much the second Graf differed from the overall layout of the Hindenburg.


bongie May 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

the lz130 has engines on front of the engine cars!!!


Ernie Ford May 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

About 1938 when I was 5yrs old I remember a Zeppelin passing overhead of us between Lydd and Dungeness. It was silver with large German crosses on it, and it was travelling west along the coast towards Hastings. Presumably it should have been outside the three mile limit but as our coast line sticks out in the Channel it must have clipped it, or maybe they wanted to check out Lydd army camp. I still remember the concern of my mother and the neighbours standing in the road watching it. When I mentioned it while serving in the army in Germany during the ’50’s, my mates were sceptical, but shortly afterwards the ‘News of The World’ published accounts of the pre-war jaunts along our coasts by the German airships.


Ares96 May 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hmm. That could have been the LZ-130 during one of its espionage flights. I remember reading about one where the ship went along the east coast of England and Scotland, all the way up to the Shetlands, to examine a new British radar system. This was probably not that (I don’t think they’d have flown over Kent), but it could well have been the LZ-130.


William Milne March 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I was born in 1927. In 1932 or thereby, living with my family in our house on a hill just south of Aberdeen, Scotland I was playing on the country road outside our house when a huge airship came low overhead so close that it darkened the sky. I could see all details clearly. It was moving slowly on, I believe, a south-west course. I have always thought it to be R101 but it would seem that it was a Graf Zeppelin.


Alec Williams November 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I too William was born in 1927 and at the time of zeppelin LZ130 was living at the coastguard station Findon a few miles south of Aberdeen . I recall watching a zeppelin travelling north at a distance not more than 5 miles from the coast and probably less. My Dad was off duty at the time (morning) so I called to him and we watched it until it disappeared in the direction of Aberdeen . I am not sure of the date but have always assumed it to be close to the outbreak of war . Perhaps it was filming the radar installation behind Findon built around that time. Cheers Will’ Nov 21 2012


Hendrick Stoops November 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I’m curious,
were the photo’s of the interiors of the GZ2 actual interior photos, or a period mockup. also, what was the color scheme?


David J. Coyle June 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

I believe all interior photos of the LZ-130 were taken aboard the actual airship. After all, it was intended to carry commercial passengers, so they had to have something to put in the DZR brochures. When it became apparent there would be no commercial flights, I believe the public spaces were stripped of non-essential items and the space was converted to work area for the electronics people who were doing the espionage on the British radar defense systems.


Hendrick Stoops August 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm

That makes sense. I did also read a reference (I believe in “Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg”) about the passenger quarters being occasionally used by V.I.P’s I assume the ended after the espionage flights began.


Albert L. Fowler August 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

As a child living in 1934 in the east cost town of Peterhead my father told me to come quickly to see the Zeppelin that flew over the town. I was stuck by its size, and how its engines sounded, and how it flew slowly over the town. I remember my Dad saying “its flying over the Academy” and I watched it do that. How strange then that during the 1939-1945 war the Academy was bombed on two separate occasions. The outcome was that my education was suspended while other accommodation was found.


Jasonwallace April 29, 2011 at 7:04 am

Dear Dan and airship fanatics as it is on youtube alot of you may have all ready seen it but none the less BEHOLD THE LAUNCH FOOTAGE OF THE LZ-130 GRAF ZEPPELIN!!!!



Frank Bitterhof February 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

What a fabulous website you are sharing with us! You have schematics of LZ-130 I have never seen before and had no idea such existed! Most impressive, beautiful!
Unfortunately, yesterday was a very sad day for Germany, as the Hindenburg exploded again on German TV.
“Hindenburg” is a new film (US-German Coproduction) any Zeppelinfahrer should take with tons of salt. While the passenger section is supposedly that of the Hindenburg, it rather looks like it may be a prototype of LZ-131 as it features design elements of LZ-130 previously not available on LZ-129 and they have abandoned the smoking lounge (people now smoke cigarettes in an open area, must be LZ-131 filled with helium instead of hydrogen…).
CGI effects are okay but it’s quite a waste that they didn’t use the technology to get us closer to the burning ship and show how passengers and crew jumped off (actually it’s a colorized copy of the original newsreel footage but now you don’t see the dots jumping off…!).
Thought you might find this interesting, but be well advised to lower your expectations.

Frank B., Berlin, Germany


Rosa January 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I’m a little confused. So, I’m doing a project on the Hindenburg for school, and I’ve used this website as a major source, but I’m always fascinated with Zeppelins. My only question is about these later models I keep reading about in these comments; The LZ-130? 131? 132? And I thought that there was only one Graf Zeppelin, and yet it has the LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin, and the LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin links on this site. So, in other words, I’m a bit confused about all of this? I mean, from what I’ve learned so far, wasn’t the Hindenburg the last Zeppelin airship made?


Dan (Airships.net) January 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Sorry you are confused… I will try to help!

There were two airships named “Graf Zeppelin”… LZ-127 and LZ-130. (Although LZ-130 is sometimes called “Graf Zeppelin II” to avoid confusion, the actual name of the ship was simply “Graf Zeppelin.”)

LZ-129 Hindenburg was not the last zeppelin constructed; LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin was launched in 1938 and flew from 1938-1939.

Construction was started on LZ-131, but very little was completed before the project was canceled.


Rosa January 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

Okay, that does make a bit more sense now, thank you :)


Neil Hemstad January 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I have always thought of the Graf Zeppelin 2 as the orphan zeppelin. He never got the chance to do the job that he was built for. The transportation of people and cargo over the ocean. I have a couple of questions about it. First why did not Harold Ickes not give the Helium to Eckener even though Eckener explained to him that Germany was not going to use it for military uses. I also was thinking why if the rest of the cabinet was approving the Helium sale to germany then the President just order Ickes to approve of it? It would be interesting to think what would have happened if Germany did find its own supply of Helium. I would think that the Graf Zeppelin 2 would have flown across the atlantic to Brazil and Lakehurst in 1938 and the construction of the LZ 131 and LZ 132 would have continued. But you would have the other possiblity of military uses such as non rigid airships used as mineseekers in world war 2


Stu February 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I don’t think the German Government was all too interested in airships aside from their propaganda use. Dr. Eckener was an advocate of airships, but did not represent, nor support / endorse the Nazi regime in any way. I think that the powers in Washington were concerned that if they gave Dr. Eckener the helium, Germany would use it for more nasty purposes in their heavy water experiments.


Neil Hemstad June 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm

You must be right as think about it. Why would the germans send one zeppelin to bomb a target when several aircraft would have been much more effective.If you look at it all any aircraft of the day has to do is just shoot out the motors and a zeppelin just becomes an out of control balloon. Even with helium. It makes no real sense for the germans to have even tried it. Ikes was just doing a cheap political stunt.Eckener was fully right in his explanations to Ikes when he met him. It just seems sad that always airships had the bad luck of the wrong people in the right places to mess things up.I do know that Ikes felt vindicated when the germans used the Graf Zeppelin 2 as a spy ship but what were they going to do with it?They had to fly it so as not to look bad to the world as another countrys decision would effect them.They could not risk it as a passenger vessel using hydrogen as the cameras would be hoping for the same pictures of the Hindenburg accident.


Dan (Airships.net) September 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm

It was the LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin.


Luis E. Suarez September 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

According to news from London newspapers, on august 5, 1939, the Graf Zeppelin was sighted over Scotland. I don’t know the source, I only have a paper clip. It says:
LONDON, Friday.
The Graf zeppelin was sighted over Aberdeen during its test flight. It is stated in Berlin that the flight had no military purpose.”

Another paper clip dated Sep 10, 1939, states:

” Sabotage Of Graf Zeppelin
LONDON, September 10.
The London “Star” publishes an unconfirmed report that the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin was blown up at Friedrichshaven by sabotage. It ls recalled that Zurich despatches on Monday stated that an explosion was heard from the direction of-Frledrlchshaven.”

I dont know if the later is true or not.


Greg Lugn December 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

It’s not. the LZ 130 was scrapped just like its name sake the LZ 128.


Istvan September 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm

This is the LZ- 130 plans and deckplans in pdf.:
Download and Join!



Istvan September 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

How mutch cost is this ship?
Thank you.


Eric Parker July 11, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Hi Dan,

In early August 1939 I was at Weymouth on the south coast of England when an airship, which I have always assumed to be the Graf Zeppelin, flew over on a west to east course. From your site I can see this was not so as that airship was no longer flying then. The sighting was very interesting as at that time the whole of the British Home Fleet was anchored in Weymouth Bay awaiting the the Fleet Review by King George VI. We assumed it was on a scheduled flight from America to Germany. So what was it we saw?


Dan (Airships.net) July 12, 2010 at 2:37 am

LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin flew until late August, 1939, and famously made a spying flight over the UK on August 2-4, 1939.

(Where on my site did you see that LZ-130 was no longer flying in August, 1939? If you could point that out, it would be very helpful. Thanks!)


jt August 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Cheers Dan,
Almost correct, but Lz 129&130 didn’t made a flight over england but followed the coastline (presumably in international airspace). The mission was to gather information about british radar. As zeppelins were easy to spot the british switched their coastal radar installations, the home chain, off.

This was presumably the first airborn Elint operation. No intellegence gathered and therefore the germans had a nasty surprise when their bombers were detected while still trying to get altitude over northern france. :-))


Jason Wallace June 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm

ive heard that there is a plan for the new Zeppelin NT that has the capabilities to carry 40 passengers and their luggage and are to connect ten cities through out Europe it would be absolutley amazing if this happend if anyone has any info on this please inform me i would be much obliged thanx

yours sincerely Jason Wallace


Fred Whitaker, Program Manager July 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

the website will tell you in english, that the ship has been flying since 1997. This is the Zeppelin Factory website. Enjoy ;)


Jason Wallace July 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

thank you for consideration to my question
yours sincerely Jason Wallace


James April 19, 2010 at 4:55 am

Ok i am the dummy here but was the lz 130 built and dismantled after the hindenburg disaster? was it bigger faster ? amazing


Jason Wallace April 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Dear dan

i have a found a site that should interest u greatly it has videos of the lz-130 trial flights and as well as the tragic death of DR Eckener its great etc

enjoy and tell me what u think cheers jason


Robert McArthur May 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I found the Hugo Eckener story from 1954 but no videos of the LZ-130 trial flights. If anyone has a link I would appreciate it. Great web site for us airship enthusiasts!


Jason Wallace June 2, 2010 at 6:13 am

Here you go Robert it is a great sight and there is countless hours of footage Graf flying down to rio parts 1-4 etc etc


Hope you enjoy the vids and let me no what you think.
Cheers Jason Wallace.


Robert McArthur June 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Outstanding … and rare shots. Thanks again for all the hard work on the site.


Frank February 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm

This page is starting out great. If you didn’t know David Fowler has incredible technical drawings of the LZ 130, just as amazing as his Hindenburg drawings that you put on the Hindenburg pages. I also wonder about the color footage that Harold G. Dick filmed, there’s no good quality version… It’s ridiculous that the documentary got the Hindenburg and Graf II mixed up.


Dan (Airships.net) February 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for the comment!

David was kind enough to send me editable versions of his wonderful drawings so I can incorporate details into this page; unfortunately I have just not had time to write the text for this page, or work with David’s fantastic drawings. I look forward to expanding the page when I am able!


Frank March 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm

That’s great!

Well there’s colour footage of the LZ 130 over Friedrichshafen filmed by Harold G Dick. It was shown in a Hindenburg documentary years ago but they mistook it for Hindenburg Footage (!). The documentary was “Hindenburg Disaster: Probable Cause”

I uploaded it on YouTube:

Unfortunately my source of the documentary was widescreen; there should be a fullscreen version though.

Colour photos of the Graf II are rather common but colour photos of the Hindenburg are rare.


sam cook January 21, 2010 at 5:58 am

hi i love Zeps great site mate cheers


jason wallace January 19, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Could u please if at all possible find any info on what i presume would have been 2 spectacular Zeppelins the LZ128 and the LZ131.the LZ128 never left the drawing board and the LZ131 still in its construction stage was scrapped at the beginning of the second world war i think it would also make some interesting reading Ive looked through all my sources and found only what i wrote above and would love to know more if any one has any info at all please reply on my inquiry i would be very much obliged to hear from u of these 2 what would have been spectacular Zeppelins
p.s u have a great site and i am looking forward to any info u might get thank you for your time.


Dan (Airships.net) January 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

I have been meaning to additional information about the plans for LZ-128 and LZ-131, and I look forward to adding sections on those ship ships when I have the time.

Thanks for your kind words!


jason wallace January 21, 2010 at 5:57 am

Thanks for your kind consideration towards my question/comment on the LZ-128 LZ-131 i look forward to your discoveries and info you find.

You have a great site and I’m looking forward to reading more in the future
Thanks Jason!!


david moyer May 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I don’t think there’s much of a story re LZ-131. My impression is that they started on the bow section, but essentially, LZ-129, 130, 131 and 132 were all to be similar ships. GZ2 differed minimally from the Hindenburg — tractor rather than pusher airscrews, e.g. 131 shouldn’t have been much different.
I too have been intrigued by 128, but I believe that ship was but a bit larger 127, until the R101 accident soured the Germans on airships designed for hydrogen> as I’m sure you know, 129 was to be a helium ship.


Jason Wallace May 21, 2010 at 5:29 am

dear David thanks for your interesting remark on my inquiries if you find any info i would be more than happy to know about it. i myself am an airship fanatic im crazy about them as what they once were and as to what they can still be!! i mean yeah sure an airship like the hindenburg even with helium its design might not pass the modern aviation safety standards despite the fact it would be truly amazing but as far as the concept it self goes it is far safer far grander and in general a much more pleasant experience than that of a modern air liner eg: we have been travelling by sea for many centuries and there has been many tragedys eg TITANIC etc etc and not to mention airtravel by plane how many tragedys have their been millions upon millions and yet we still build and perfect them and fly in them. you see my point surely yes they have a fail safe glide design but they generally still crash on an airship how ever if one engine fails you can still continue the pleasant voyage and as many as 3 engines could die you could still travel safely to a degree if the nessescary precautions were taken wich they did do. they would be much more fuel efficient as we have lighter stronger materials and better fuel saving technology for power better yet being a rigid frame with further development they could be run on solar and with ready available helium its not just fantasy. Early zeppelin travel started off with excursion flights much the same as they are doing now with the Zeppelin NT’s and it took one man with enough motivation and spirit and Determination to make his dreams a reality that man was Dr Hugo Eckener. so imagine Zeppelin NT’s twice or 3 times the size flying the vast oceans and lands of the world in a similar fashion to our Aeroplane class system Economy, Business etc etc all they need is development and someone with enough motivation,determination and passion to drive the concept forwards and once again fill the skies with Grace,majesty and power and an all inspiring AWWWWWWWWWW!!!. I hope to one day bring my dreams into solid reality but for now untill i get the chance all i can do is dream Dream of what a great world it would be with international freindships in support of the cause as it was back in the Golden Age Of Air Travel so on that note you can ponder my response and i hope you to can dream of a world such as mine. I look forward to hearing from you again and if you have any additional info i would be mor ehtan happy to hear about it as a new Golden Age Of Air Travel is on the horizon as one day i hope airships/Zeppelins may asccend into glory and pioneer the globe once more as i said the dream is not dead and the concept is most certainly alive perhaps more than ever so i look forward to hearing from you soon Cheers Jason wallace


Jason Wallace May 24, 2010 at 4:05 am

I also have another post second from the top it has LZ-130 trialflights and the tragic death of Dr Hugo Eckener +many hours of Zeppelin footage Graf Zeppelin,Hindenburg etc etc …
If anyone finds any new info on Zepps please let me know

yours sincerely Jason wallace


Tael January 17, 2010 at 1:41 am

The elusive LZ-130 makes its appearance! I didn’t think pictures of this marvel existed, let alone that it could actually fly. The passenger interior is massive! Is that thee floors of decks or just two? Those engine cars look real funny compared to the 127 and 129….
With photographs of the LZ-130, aside from joy that it actually existed, comes sadness, as this was the last Zeppelin the Luftschiffbau company made before the war machine called the Third Reich ate all of them….It’s like finding the missing link, after it’s found, there’s nothing new to search for anymore.
Thanks for finding these Dan!


JF Ptak January 14, 2010 at 6:51 am

Great, thanks. I particularly like the cross-section schematic of the Zep half-way across the ocean. Just lovely.


Robert Bennett December 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for these wonderful photos of the airship. Do you know if there exisrs a print of the MGM Movietone 3 reel 1929 Hearst made film, “Across the Atlantic via Zeppelin with Lady Drummond Hay”?


Dan (Airships.net) December 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Unfortunately I don’t know if a print of that film is available.

Perhaps the producers of the new movie “Farewell” (which uses archival footage) might be able to help you.


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